Cold Blooded

never hike in the snow 2020

NEVER HIKE IN THE SNOW

3 Stars  2020/31m

Director/Writer: Vincente DiSanti / Cast: Thom Mathews, Vinny Guastaferro, Bryan Forrest, Courtlan Gordon, Anna Campbell, Vincent DiSanti.

Body Count: 2


Released on the same day as the all-encompassing Friday the 13th Blu Ray box set, this prequel to the 2017 54-minute fan film that out fanned and out filmed all of its competitors serves as a sort of ‘expansion pack’ to build on its new little Jason-verse.

A teen photographer flees through the snow-carpeted forest floor in the vicinity of Camp Crystal Lake but is caught before he can reach his car by an unwelcoming Jason, who’s probably just trying to kick back and stay warm in his cabin. (J uses a bow and arrow for what feels like the first time?)

Local Sheriff Rick Cologne – Part VI alumni Vincent Guastaferro, one of the few second-tier characters to survive originally – instructs a young deputy to salt over the bloodstains while he goes to talk to the mom of the missing teen, discovering he’d purposefully gone looking for the old camp.

A spanner is thrown into Cologne’s approach in the form of Tommy Jarvis, who is intent on finishing off Jason all over again. Things culminate with the young deputy happening on the camp and seeing a light in a window… Don’t do it, dude.

never hike in the snow 2020

Because it doesn’t have the contained story Never Hike Alone afforded itself, Snow feels a tad superfluous by comparison, but with the knowledge the producers plan on further films, it’s a necessary puzzle piece. In its favour, it’s as marvellously made as its predecessor, with majestic aerial shots bringing us in, has great acting from everybody involved and even a glimpse of Mrs Voorhees.

Most Wanted

As I type, 40 years ago they were likely coming to the end of the Friday the 13th Part 2 shoot and during post-production and MPAA back-and-forths, much of Carl Fullerton’s marvellous FX work would be scissored from the movie, seemingly forever.

VHS came and went, with a much-seen shot of this absent gorefest on the back of the box of a European release. I first saw the film in the summer of 1996 and was curiously disappointed about its omission. When DVD came along and several insert shots in some of the later films were restored, we all hoped Part 2‘s shish-ke-bob impalement kill of Jeff and Sandra would show up. Nuh-uh.

jeff sandra friday the 13th part 2

There was the From Crystal Lake to Manhattan box set with its Killer Extras disc, featuring cut footage from the other movies, but not Part 2. There were the deluxe editions that had ‘slashed scenes’ as extras on the other films, but not Part 2. There was the 2013 deluxe 8-film set on Blu Ray with more new extras for the other films, but still no sign of the excised scenes.

Interwebz rumours had long pointed towards Fullerton possessing the footage and I’ve seen countless petitions and campaigns over the years to try and locate it to no avail.

And then came Scream Factory.

What my friend Ross correctly dubbed ‘the last word’ on the franchise sees all 12 movies together for the first time in one cutely decorated box, 16 discs in all, confined only to Region-A Blu Ray.

scream factory friday the 13th box

So I bought a multi region Blu Ray player.

Amazon Canada were doing the sweetest deal, but then suddenly the page said they couldn’t/wouldn’t ship to Europe. Amazon US were charging more but there were no shipping issues it seemed, just a long-ass wait for Jason’s TransAtlantic voyage (not via the Lazarus), but eventually a 2-day wait from a UK-based eBayer had the box turn up on Saturday morning at 9am.

I rugby dived to the player, dog crazily running around hoping the big box contained biscuits or tennis balls, and in went Part 2. Of course, the player revved up like some Lovecraftian God awakened from centuries of slumber; the TV kept telling me the remote was now usable for the player as well; the don’t-copy-this-disc warning seemed to remain on screen for hours.

But there it was, on the extras menu: Slashed scenes.

PLAY.

A mere song-length of extended and unseen takes from my favourite slasher movie of all time unfurled before my hazy morning eyes.

  • Alice vs. Icepick
  • Crazy Ralph’s last hurrah – 12″ extended disco mix
  • The doomed Deputy’s hammer-to-the-head
  • More of Scott’s savage throat slashing
  • A micro-second longer of poor wheelchair-bound Mark’s blade to the face
  • Vickie’s stabbing
  • An I-can’t-see-a-difference Jason-through-the-window take
  • Mrs Voorhees’ head.

But the reason I signed on for all this madness, ordered the damn thing three times, and have become a Blu Ray lackie: Jeff and Sandra.

Maybe it’s my age, but compared to the other scenes, this is the only one I think was a real loss for the movie, an actual robbery of essential content, unlike slightly longer shots of the other denouements, the entire removal of what happens to them subtracted a lot of power from the scenario.

It lasts longer than I thought, comprising several shots as they writhe silently (no sound made it for any of the footage) and Jason grinds the spear through them in an almost humiliating demise.

I was 2 when this was shot. I’m 42 now. Thank you Scream Factory. It was worth the wait.

me-friday

Murder on the Dancefloor

discopath 2013

DISCOPATH

2.5 Stars  2013/81m

“Disco isn’t dead, but you might be.”

Director/Writer: Renaud Gauthier / Cast: Jeremie Earp Lavergne, Sandrine Bisson, Ivan Freud, Ingrid Falaise, Katherine Cleland, Mathieu Lapage, Francois Aubin, Pierre Lenoir.

Body Count: 11

Laughter Lines: “Calm down miss, YOUR FRIEND IS DEAD!”


There are precisely two awesome scenes in this uneven French Canadian flick, which posits that a guy who saw his dad electrocuted by recording equipment is driven to murder nightclub babes anytime he hears the pulsating rhythms of disco music.

In 1976, our loon-to-be Duane is fired from his diner job in NYC and hooks up with a girl who takes him to Seventh Heaven nightclub where he loses it to what sounds like a Hi-NRG disco mix of Flight of the Bumblebee and attacks his date. As she tries to escape, Duane ends up accosting her beneath the light-up dancefloor, where she shrieks hysterically, pounding her hands against the underside of the platform while people shake n’ shimmy inches above her head.

discopath 2013

It really is a great scenario, executed well, ending with a nice zoom out of her face, barely visible under the floor until it’s eclipsed by spinning and twirling revellers.

Duane flees New York for Montreal and things skip ahead to 1980 where we find him posing as a deaf-mute handyman at an all girl’s Catholic school, attempting to block out the tempting bops of Donna Summer and the Village People with secret ear plugs. When school empties out for the weekend, he hears two loitering girls playing – gasp! – disco music and doing naked lesbian things, slashes them up with a broken 45 and takes their heads.

discopath 2013

He’s also kidnapped a teacher from a discotheque and is holding her captive in a basement somewhere while he dances around her, buck naked, swinging the two decapitated heads about like fire poi.

Cops investigate. The original NYC detective reads about it and travels to Montreal. Duane crashes a televised show called Discomania and strangles a girl, all shown via strobe lights, which is the other awesome scene.

Then, and I don’t know what the fuck this was about, Duane disguises himself as a nun to ram cars from the funeral procession of the murdered girls and a teacher while the Kiss classic I Was Made for Lovin’ You plays from an eight-track. Cops chase, Duane throws himself off a parking garage.

discopath 2013

The film is essentially over after about 73 minutes with no real resolution or explanation, no real main character to speak of, just a bunch of scenes spliced together that either don’t drive the plot at all (the priest yelling during the funeral service?) or occur with no raison d’etre. Why give so much screentime to the other teacher if she dies so randomly by electrocuting herself? Why not kill off the priest who wanted to pull a Mayor Vaughn and re-open the school before the killer was caught?

A weird experience if ever there was, but the two dancefloor murder scenes and some eyebrow raising male nudity save it from being tossed into the Disco Demolition Night bonfire.

Blurb-of-interest: Gauthier also directed the 2019 waterslide slasher pic Aquaslash.

*Gasp!* It’s you!

Murder She Wrote is a flickbook of interesting actors, from big names, to has-beens, but also all manner of folks who had – or would do – a slasher pic or two.

In an episode titled Sticks & Stones, our favourite movie mom Mrs Voorhees turned up. The late, great Betsy Palmer played one of three members of a development committee who wanted to build luxury condos on some land. Of course, the person who owned said land was – gasp! – murdered, and only Jessica has the patience to work out who. Seriously, when does this woman write?

betsy palmer murder she wroteSadly, Betsy wasn’t the killer this time, but she did return to the series a few years later in another role, so fingers crossed for a thick blue sweater and some kiddie voices telling her to kill people.

Girls on top

tragedy girls 2017

TRAGEDY GIRLS

3.5 Stars  2017/99m

“Friends who slay together, stay together.”

Director: Tyler McIntyre / Writers: Juston Olson, Chris Lee Hill, Tyler McIntyre / Cast: Brianna Hildebrand, Alexandra Shipp, Jack Quaid, Kevin Durand, Timothy V. Murphy, Craig Robinson, Savannah Jayde, Josh Hutcherson, Nicky Whelan, Elise Neal, Andy Bethea, Keith Hudson, Katie Stottlemire.

Body Count: 9 (+123)

Laughter Lines: “This is some serious Final Destination shit!”


A teen couple make out in a muscle car on a lonely bridge. The girl hears a noise outside. They ignore it. The noise sounds again. She convinces the boy to go check and a hulking figure buries a machete in his face and chases down the girl. He runs into a wire and a second girl appears, they taser him and drag him back to their garage where they explain they’ve been baiting him for months and need him to work with them so they can gain followers of their true crime blog @tragedygirls.

tragedy girls alexandra shipp brianna hildebrand 2017

Sadie and McKayla are the titular BFFs, who will do anything to draw attention to their social media presence, hoping that their insights into the later-named Rosedale Ripper will catapult them into the spotlight. But real life isn’t that easy and it’s assumed the first victim is a runaway (for reasons unknown they destroyed the body in lye), and their next is written off as a motorcycle accident. Irked by the slow take-up, the girls ensure that victim 3 cannot be mistaken for anything other than a murder.

While the girls continue to hold their pet killer, Lowell, captive, Sadie becomes close to Sheriff’s son Jordan, who begins to suspect McKayla knows more about what’s going on than she’s letting on – and things go from bad to worse when Lowell escapes and has them firmly in his crosshairs.

tragedy girls 2017

More complications ensue as the girls try to clean up their mess, stay alive, and eventually fall out when Sadie is hailed as a singular hero when she fights off Lowell’s next attack, prompting McKayla to take the game into her own hands.

Tragedy Girls is a fine looking product, stirring in elements of Mean Girls to its slasher groundwork, and satire of the shallowness of external validation culture. As a comedy, it’s acid tongued good times, with a disturbing painted-on smile to its couple of psycho leads. The horror end of things doesn’t quite take flight so well, despite some grisly denouements throughout (the woodwork class and gym scenes – the latter featuring the awesome Craig Robinson – are great), but little else. Durand is a hoot as the captive wannabe psycho, as his threats to the girls are met with emasculating giggles, and both leads sell their friends-till-the-end bond well.

tragedy girls 2017 brianna hildebrand alexandra shipp

Creepily, Brianna Hildebrand looks like the long lost twin of my friend Alisha, so I’ll be treading carefully around her for a bit.

Blurbs-of-interest: Josh Hutcherson was in Detention; Elise Neal was Sid’s roomie in Scream 2.

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